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Thread: Microgreens

  1. #1
    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    Default Microgreens

    G'day folks! I am posting here at Al's request to profile my home microgreens production system.

    When I first moved to the US I was an installer & grower for an indoor hydroponics farm in Toledo Ohio. Sadly, that business only last 2 years due to the mismanagement of investor funds by my boss. During that time I did training and hands on with Crop King, a hydroponics supply & training company in Lodi, Northern Ohio. I learned and practiced NFT (nutrient film technique), bato bucket & microgreens. At our peak we had 40,000sq ft of growing space & we grew and harvested 7000 fancy bibb (butter) lettuce weekly, hundreds of pound of basil & lots of microgreens. Our produce was sold at local Kroger, Whole Foods and other grocery stores. After the company shut down I went back to nursing, but love to garden, and have had both aquaponics & microgreens production set ups at the different homes we have lived in over the past 8.

    I recently set up a small recirculating system in our basement under lights that currently produces about 2lbs of greens weekly. I sell these to people from church & work. The system consists of a 30 gallon acrylic sump from a previous fish tank set up, 5' food grade PVC growing channels which were given to me when I left the company, a 200gph pump, irrigation line, stop cocks and emitters w taps to control the flow to the channels. The light is a T5 HO light, but I have used LED (blue/white) successfully also).

    I use "biostrate" as my substrate which is a plant fiber based product. This seed mix is called "Organic Spicy Salad Mix" from Ture Leaf Market. It contains kale, red cabbage, kohlrabi, arugula & mustard green seeds.

    Grow cycle is darkness 4 days, under light 12 hours/day for 7 days. Once cut, keep refrigerated & shelf life is approx 1 week from cutting.

    Here are some pics...

    IMG_3274.jpg
    Day 0, seed day. The seeds get covered and are in darkness for 3 days

    day 2.jpg
    day 3, germination, still darkness

    day 4.jpg
    Day 4 since seeding, day 1 with cover removed, with light 12 hours/day. The double stacked channel on the left side is the next seed batch in darkness. My cycle is a weekly harvest on Wednesdays when I'm off work. Sales on Wed evening, and Thurs morning.

    day 6.jpg
    Day 4 under light, almost ready to harvest!

    IMG_3371.jpg
    Day 7 under light, harvest day!

    IMG_0764.jpg
    The finished product! Yum

    I am sorry the some of the images are sideways. I don’t recall cropping them, but who knows lol

    The great thing about greens is that everything the plant needs for it's first 10 day of life are in the seed, which means no nutrients are required, just clean fresh water. I use a recirculating system and have a fan blowing over the crop to minimize the risk of mold & fungus growing in the root zone or amongst the stems under the cotyledon canopy. I also put 3ml of 29% food grade hydrogen peroxide into the 20 gallons of water in the reservoir every 2-3 days. HP (H2O2) turns immediately to water & oxygen when diluted so it give the root zone a burst of life and simultaneously provides anti bacterial, anti mold & anti fungus protection in the root zone.

    Any questions or comments are welcome! Blessings!!
    Last edited by danotaylor; 06-01-2024 at 01:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    Thanks Danny!
    Thats all great information and interesting as all heck. I have always wanted to try my hand at hydroponics and this seems like it could be the shot in the backside I needed.

    Question.. That fibrous substrate that is used as a mat.. does it breakdown fairly quickly? Im wondering what kind of uses it might have . seems it would be very good red wiggler worm substrate.


    Need to start formulating an aquarium fish seed combo.. perfect for those homemade fish food recipes!
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  3. #3
    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    Al I looked up the biostrate and my initial comment about it was unintentionally misleading. My apologies but it apparently is not plant based, it is a felt product. Here is the descriptor from Crop Kings website;

    “BioStrate Felt™ absorbs and retains water while providing an inert environment for dense healthy root development. The blend of biopolymers and natural fibers is designed to manage water efficiently for optimal growth in a variety of hydroponic systems. BioStrate will maintain its structural integrity for the life of your product and won’t clog filters.

    This product has been tested and certified both nationally and internationally for biobased content and compostability in an industrial setting.”

    Again I do apologize for the misinformation. It has been several years since I bought the roll I’m using at the moment.

  4. #4
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    Quote Originally Posted by danotaylor View Post
    Al I looked up the biostrate and my initial comment about it was unintentionally misleading. My apologies but it apparently is not plant based, it is a felt product. Here is the descriptor from Crop Kings website;

    “BioStrate Felt™ absorbs and retains water while providing an inert environment for dense healthy root development. The blend of biopolymers and natural fibers is designed to manage water efficiently for optimal growth in a variety of hydroponic systems. BioStrate will maintain its structural integrity for the life of your product and won’t clog filters.

    This product has been tested and certified both nationally and internationally for biobased content and compostability in an industrial setting.”

    Again I do apologize for the misinformation. It has been several years since I bought the roll I’m using at the moment.
    No worries Danny. It looks like its still compostable though right?
    Is this the one you use?
    https://www.trueleafmarket.com/produ...pads-clearance




    Have you used these?... they sound like what you initially mentioned
    https://www.trueleafmarket.com/produ...onic-grow-pads
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    >>>>>Want a great forum? Participate in it and make one.. it doesnt happen on its own...

    we need help..

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    Administrator jeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    I remember you telling me about the business some time ago. Sorry for your business issues. It's all too common and I've been there.

    What a cool side business you have going. I used to grow my own greens for personal consumption years ago. I had a counter top sprouter that had a plastic screen that the sprouts grew through and when I removed the sprouts, I pulled them through the screen and it removed the seed shells. One day I went to look for it and it was gone. My new one has a gravity feed system that just moistens the seeds when I dump water in and it syphons through 3 layers of seeds. After about 5 days they're ready to eat. I never thought to add h202.

  6. #6
    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    Quote Originally Posted by brewmaster15 View Post
    No worries Danny. It looks like its still compostable though right?
    Is this the one you use?
    https://www.trueleafmarket.com/produ...pads-clearance




    Have you used these?... they sound like what you initially mentioned
    https://www.trueleafmarket.com/produ...onic-grow-pads
    I haven’t used the precut pads Al. I use this roll, it is more economical, and the added shipping from crop king it’s still cheaper than other options with free shipping from Amazon.

    https://cropking.com/catalog/growing...biostrate-roll

    As far as compostability, the write up say it is so in an industrial setting. I use the mats with the seed husks and stems left after cutting to feed the chickens. Because the matting retains water you could cut it up and put it in pots to aid water retention in a way that wouldn’t saturate the soil.
    The pads from True Leaf look as though they would compost since they’re made of wood material and “become fragile” when wet
    Last edited by danotaylor; 06-01-2024 at 08:46 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    Quote Originally Posted by jeep View Post
    I remember you telling me about the business some time ago. Sorry for your business issues. It's all too common and I've been there.

    What a cool side business you have going. I used to grow my own greens for personal consumption years ago. I had a counter top sprouter that had a plastic screen that the sprouts grew through and when I removed the sprouts, I pulled them through the screen and it removed the seed shells. One day I went to look for it and it was gone. My new one has a gravity feed system that just moistens the seeds when I dump water in and it syphons through 3 layers of seeds. After about 5 days they're ready to eat. I never thought to add h202.
    Thanks Brian! It’s not super lucrative because of the small poundage I currently produce, but it’s fun, I do it with my younger son, & it takes very little time. The energy expended is doubled back in the simplicity & enjoyment factor, and the 1.5 pounds of greens from this specific seed blend generates about $40-50 weekly. 3oz of seed produces the 1.5# of greens which I sell by weight, 2oz @ $5, 4oz @ $8 & 8oz @ $15. If I get to a bigger scale this mix will sell for $25/lb. Some of the more expensive, fancier or crops that spend longer in the system space wise will sell for more

  8. #8
    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    A few extra pics of my setup with some more details…

    IMG_3390.jpg
    This is the sump with the pump. You’ll notice there is a 3 way that allows me to direct flow back into the sump to oxygenate the water and reduce the back pressure in the pump as the emitter lines need very little pressure to run

    IMG_3393.jpg
    This do-hicky is the 2-way emitter spike that goes into the irrigation line that runs off the pump.

    IMG_3396.jpg
    This is the emitter tap that controls the water flow to the channel.

    IMG_3389.jpg
    Very important to have a stopcock on the end of the irrigation line so that any seeds that make it past the pump that can block the emitter can be cleaned out by opening the valve and discharging waste into a bucket.

  9. #9
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    Danny thanks for the extra pics there.

    question. I saw earlier you mentioned "I also put 3ml of 29% food grade hydrogen peroxide into the 20 gallons of water in the reservoir every 2-3 days. HP (H2O2) turns immediately to water & oxygen when diluted so it give the root zone a burst of life and simultaneously provides anti bacterial, anti mold & anti fungus protection in the root zone." A bit of research showed that mold was sometimes an issue with these. Have you run into mold problems and is that why you use the hydrogen peroxide? others have said it treats it. also where are you sourcing the food grade hydrogen Peroxide.. thats not the typical otc grade at the pharmacy.
    AquaticSuppliers.comFoods your Discus will Love!!!


    >>>>>Want a great forum? Participate in it and make one.. it doesnt happen on its own...

    we need help..

    https://forum.simplydiscus.com/showt...and-Hard-Place

    .


    Al Sabetta
    Simplydiscus LLC Owner
    Aquaticsuppliers.com


    I take Pics.. click here for my Flickr images

  10. #10
    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Microgreens

    Quote Originally Posted by brewmaster15 View Post

    question. I saw earlier you mentioned "I also put 3ml of 29% food grade hydrogen peroxide into the 20 gallons of water in the reservoir every 2-3 days. HP (H2O2) turns immediately to water & oxygen when diluted so it give the root zone a burst of life and simultaneously provides anti bacterial, anti mold & anti fungus protection in the root zone." A bit of research showed that mold was sometimes an issue with these. Have you run into mold problems and is that why you use the hydrogen peroxide? others have said it treats it. also where are you sourcing the food grade hydrogen Peroxide.. thats not the typical otc grade at the pharmacy.
    Good question Al. I have not run into mold problems in my home system, but because I am selling to others for consumption, I feel it is a good safe guard for food safety, and, in addition to keeping things "clean", it does benefit the greens by delivering a higher concentration of O2 to the root zone. One of the reasons I chose a recirculating system vs. trays sitting in standing water was mold, mildew & fungus prevention. I also use a fan blowing over the growing trays for the same reason; fresh air moving through the stem zone under the cotyledons to keep things "fresh" lol.

    The 29% food grade H2O2 came from a hydroponics supplier, I believe it was Crop King, and we used it in our commercial system because our environmental controls were inadequate after we moved the farm indoors.
    I was researching last week because I am now out of the 29% grade, which would be my preference to reorder, but in the event I cannot get the higher grade shipped, Amazon has 12% food grade H2O2 available. If I cannot source the 29% this is the one I am going to try next;

    https://www.amazon.com/HARRIS-Concen...7297834&sr=8-3
    Last edited by danotaylor; 06-01-2024 at 11:30 PM.

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